Mindful Meditation for Seniors: Part 1 – The Benefits
Published on July 13, 2020
Over the last few months, we have all been faced with heightened levels of stress and anxiety in all aspects of life due to the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. While there are many ways to manage stress, one of the most effective methods is through meditation.
This is the first of three brief articles written to introduce meditation in a clear and accessible way to help beginners embrace the practice.
For starters, meditation is very personal. The reason it’s called “practice” is to emphasize there is no “perfect” way to meditate. Since there are different ways to practice, choosing the one that suits you most will impact the benefits you’ll experience
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus and awareness. It is an individual practice, even if it is done in a group setting. Although it is usually practiced with eyes closed and body stillness, this isn’t always the case. There are practices that integrate mindfulness in other forms.
While originally an Eastern practice, over the last few years meditation has increased in popularity in Western cultures. When it comes to older adults, meditation provides many benefits. Practicing mindful meditation can improve memory, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, manage chronic pain, strengthen the immune system, alleviate stress, reduce depression, and help with sleeping challenges.
Improve Memory: Meditation helps sharpen and focus the mind. It also aids to store new and old memories and overall brain function.
Manages Chronic Pain: Meditation reduces the risk of certain diseases and psychological disorders associated with chronic inflammation.
Improves Circulation: Deep breathing exercises are conducive to improving circulation and blood oxygen enrichment which provides help to all of the body’s organs.
Alleviates Stress: Even if practiced 10 minutes per day, meditation can help control stress , decrease anxiety and improve cardiovascular health.
Reduce Depression: With mindful meditation, we can activate the “happy part” of the brain. Those who suffer from depression can experience heightened feelings of happiness, replacing negative emotions with more positive ones.
Improves Sleep: Researchers found that among 49 older adults with sleep problems, those who practiced mindfulness meditation started to sleep better within six weeks.
As you can see, mindful meditation offers many benefits for older adults – both physical and psychological.
To learn more about mindful meditation, please see Part II of our meditation series: Mindful Meditation for Seniors: Techniques, coming soon!